How many kayaks for roof rack??

I’m just getting into kayacking and am already thinking of the future. I’d love to get my two kids and husband involved. The question is how many kayaks could I fit on a Dodge Grand Caravan with a roof rack and what kind of roof system would you suggest?

We would be buying recreational kayaks. If I couldn’t fit four kayaks, would a tandem kayak be good?

Thanks for any advice…

I had a Caravan a few years ago (2000) and the rack had a 125 lb weight rating. I would lash a single rec kayak or canoe directly on the factory rack. For two boats (total weight about 120 lbs.), I used a set of Yakima Low Riders and a Malone J cradle on 58" bars. One boat was flat, one in the J cradle. I thought the Yakimas were very solid.

You will be limited by the weight rating of the factory rack, so check to see what it currently is.

Unless you have multiple little whitewater boats, IMHO the best way to transport more than two boats is a trailer.

You should be able to get 4 on the roof

– Last Updated: Jun-12-05 11:23 AM EST –

using either a Thule or Yakima system. Just use a stacker and or long bars. Here is a pic of 4 kayaks on a Nissan Skyline

Check your vehicle manual for roof
weight limitations. Most manuals have a maximum roof loading weight, with or without a rack. Adding additional racks also adds more total weitht. Having said that, I talked to a guy the other day that transported his motorcycle on top of his Saturn with a home made setup.

listen to Tsunamichuck-he’s a known P-Net crazy man. Picture is proof… :^)

Incorrect information Above
The addition of any rack system has nothing to do with the weight limits placed on a vehicle by the manufacturer. The weight limits are there to prevent a high center of gravity which can lead to a roll over in a fast maneuver situation, such as a quick lane change or sudden turn. You can exceed the limits if you are aware of the dangers involved and drive accordingly.

Carried four rec kayaks
for two years on a 1990 Ford Tempo with 48 inch Yakima bars and stackers (and lots of good straps and bow/stern lines.) You can easily fit four rec kayaks on your Caravan with 58 inch or 72 inch bars and stackers. The toughest part is loading/unloading. As for weight limits, my Subaru Legacy says it has a 100 pound limit, but when I posted a query about that on pnet, many far more experienced paddlers (and Subaru owners) told me it could easily handle twice that. If the load is secured correctly, the weight should not be a problem. If you are short and not too strong, you will find loading the plastic boats on your Caravan a challenge for two people. Tell the kids to stand back while you are loading so you don’t drop a big plastic boat on them! As for tandems, they are much heavier and more difficult to lift. If you are looking at family paddles on calm waters, then 4 9-12 foot long plastic rec kayaks will fit fine on your Caravan, and will load easier than two longer, heavier, tandems. But you might consider the trailer just for ease of loading/unloading.

Brake first then turn, brake first then
turn. That is the mantra. Driving a bit more cautiously is good too.

thanks for the info

Thanks for all the great info. You were very informative.